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Design, Decoded.

Bonjour...

If you've followed Stylexicon from the beginning you'll know that I launched the newsletter to ensure my connection to the design community wasn't severed. After almost four and a half years at the helm of MyDomaine, I tapped into my inner creative, my affinity for aesthetics blossomed, and I befriended so many talented designers in the process. I wasn't about to let that go, in fact, I couldn't. My soul wouldn't let me.

But doing what you love often comes at a personal price. I am writing this at 11 p.m. after a full day's work in my new role as editorial director of Create & Cultivate (and time spent with my family) and my eyes are bleary. Despite the extra work, however, I'm so incredibly proud of this passion project and grateful for you, dear reader, for taking the time to read it and share it. I'm not about to give that up. It propels me forward. 

So, when I read Athena Calderone's answer to my first question in this week's designer spotlight, "what does design mean to you?" I immediately reconnected with the reason why I do this. "Design to me is a wordless expression. Telling a story, creating a mood, non-verbally. When the alchemy of design is executed seamlessly there is just a feeling." If you haven't heard of Calderone or her stunning visual feast, EyeSwoon then I urge you to follow her on Instagram, STAT. I have long admired the ethereal beauty for her impeccable eye from design to food (and fashion)—she doesn't skip a design beat and yet it never feels overly curated thanks to her artistic nous that aims for progress over perfection. Don't miss her favorite places to shop online and her hilarious and yet slightly tragic story about the one décor piece that got away.

Additionally, I have a special sneak peek of Julie Van Daele's new project for her firm, Well-Received (you'll recall I featured her in the very first Stylexicon newsletter). She designed friend and influencer, Angela Fink's home and I'm in love with the neutral layering and expertly sourced furniture and décor. Daele is a hound when it comes to tracking down the perfect pieces and I really think she nailed this home. I'm so proud of her and can't wait to see more of her projects, especially after seeing a sneak peek of celebrity stylist, Monica Rose's home. Make sure you scroll down to see the full tour.

As always, if you have someone you'd like me to feature, a new Instagram account, brand or designer I should be aware of, please email me: sachastrebe@gmail.com

Kindest,
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Top 5 Clicks of the Week
  • If you're in the mood to re-design your home office but the space comes with size restrictions, then these 17 small home office tips should help.
     
  • Chip & Jo's fall collection is coming to Target on August 18 but you can get a sneak peek online now and it's very clear they nailed it again. I love their kitchen towels. I've bought several from previous collections and the quality is great for the price. 
     
  • I would happily relocate to Milan and set up house in this stunning all-white Liberty-style family home. I've been pinning a lot of neutral, country-esque images lately as I plan out our bedroom design and this just feels cozy, cool, and comfortable. 
     
  • Leanne Ford is one of my favorite designers. I reached out to her via an Instagram DM in 2017 to write a story for MyDomaine about this crazy-cool designer that specializes in all-white interiors. Since then she's had a hit show on HGTV, Restored by the Fords and a lighting collection with Target's Project 62 line, and is joining the cast of designers for the Very Brady Renovation. If you love her style then check out her blog with a ton of practical tips like this one on how to layer a rug or this one on mixing metals in the kitchen
     
  • I don't know if it's the impending fall months on my mind or just that I've been searching for Gwyneth Paltrow's envious Donna Karan outfits from Great Expectations, but I've really been drawn to the color green lately. So, when I spotted this stunning art deco apartment in Sydney's North Bondi I fell hard. Then after some reading, I discovered it's by one of my favorite design studios, Arent & Pyke
Designer Spotlight: 
ATHENA CALDERONE, Founder, EyeSwoon


Photo: Jessica Antola

Design is a broad term, but what does it mean to you?
Design to me is a wordless expression. Telling a story, creating a mood, non-verbally. When the alchemy of design is executed seamlessly there is just a feeling.  

Having your own business while being creative is a juggle. What motivates you to keep going?
That there is always something new to explore each day. It is never one thing and that is precisely how I like it. Each day brings forth a challenge to conquer—super frustrating and thrilling at once. 

Sometimes we can let fear get in the way of our dreams, what is your advice to push past doubt?
Doubt will likely always be there and for years I let it halt the progression of my career and creativity. I think you can never align with another person’s version of “success”—we all must forge our own path no matter how unorthodox it may seem. It wasn’t until I embraced my multifaceted passions and interests that I was able to find both “success” and inner pride. Just do you, authentically, and with a little doubt because it will cause you to think outside the box. 


Photo: Gieves Anderson

Favorite piece in your house and why?
I have a Jacques Adnet sideboard that I altered drastically. Stripped and bleached and turned it into something anew. Some belief I ruined a classic, others might believe I took a risk and improved it. I just know I love it and that I made it my own. That’s what I saw in my mind's eye but I still executed it with a little doubt and a lotta uncertainty. It paid off.  

"Just do you, authentically, and with a little doubt because it will cause you to think outside the box."

Favorite place in your house and why?
The kitchen. For obvious reasons my happiest and most creative space. For pure aesthetics, I love the fluted plaster portal to my master bathroom.

What does your home say about you?
That I am neutral and textured at once—keeps you guessing and curious. 


Photo: Gieves Anderson

What do you think about when decorating and why?
I try not to think too much but I am always crafting a composition I suppose. Playing with scale and patina and the non-obvious. I love a wild card, the unexpected. A broken sense of symmetry.

Favorite affordable home décor/furniture store/s?
Well the IKEA Malm bed has been a standing fixture in both my homes. But I always alter it just a bit. Priming and painting usually monochromatic to the wall it sits upon. 

"Have a plan but leave room for chance, for the magic, the unexpected."

Favorite place to buy furniture/décor for your home and clients?
Chairish is my obsession (I’d say 80% of the vintage in my home came from there!) and Etsy. I am never afraid of high/low or to make something my own. I will buy a 1950’s french floor lamp, purchased at the Paris Flea, without the shade, and trust I will find the right fitting for it. Etsy always delivers with the vintage rattan lamp shades—a fave in my home. Also, dive down the rabbit hole using keywords in Etsy—it’s amazing what you can find if you put the time in. I have found all my primitive ceramics on Etsy.  

Favorite place to travel for furniture/design? Why?
Copenhagen for all the inspiration and the ceramics too. I always buy a piece of ceramic whenever I travel. I went to Salone in Milan this past year and was crazy inspired by all the installations many of which felt both experimental and interactive. 

Photo: Sarah Elliott
What is your design motto/mantra/philosophy?
Have a plan but leave room for chance, for the magic, the unexpected. I make mistakes when I think too rigidly or when I follow or force a trend. 

Name your top 3 design IG accounts and why?
@ColinKing—His eye and point of view are impeccable. 
@MDezeiner—I always find something new to discover.
@C_W_interiors—Just so well-curated, I get lost.

What's the one piece that got away that you still think about? 
It took me a long while to find the right light fixture for over my dining table in my Brooklyn townhouse.  I found the one on 1st Dibs—Italian 50’s—super unique. Anyway, I corresponded with the dealer and confirmed I wanted to purchase it. Truthfully I hesitated a day but 1000% thought it was mine for the taking.  It was not. She sold it to someone else in my 24hrs of pondering. Of course, I wanted it even more then.  I suppose it was just not meant to be but it did take me months to get over it. And I might have even gotten 1st Dibs involved to try and turn her decision, hahahaha... It didn’t work.

Home Tour: 
Julie Van Daele x Angela Fink 









Design: Julie Van Daele of Well Received 
Photography: Dumont
Thank you for reading this all the way to the end! If you have any industry news, brand updates, new product launches, or stories you'd like to share or see featured, please email me: sachastrebe@gmail.com

Images of the living room and coffee table in my apartment are photographed by Jenna Peffley
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